If you think of pollution as something that happens outside, you might be surprised to learn that indoor air pollution can actually be worse than the grime and smog that occurs outdoors!
In fact, those same energy-efficient, wonderfully-sealed windows that help keep pollutants out also help keep pollutants in. Dust mites, pet dander, chemicals from fragrances and cleaners, even chemicals from new paint, furniture and carpets can all accumulate to become harmful to your health, especially if you suffer from respiratory issues or allergies.
We talked about how indoor air quality is affected during winter months and what you can do about it, but with a change in seasons it’s time to tackle this common household problem again.
The Problem With Indoor Air Quality During Spring And Summer
During winter, germs are typically the culprit when it comes to problem air. But spring and summer usher in an entirely new set of challenges.
For starters, warmer months bring higher humidity, and while we may go to great lengths to increase humidity during winter, too much humidity is bad for your health, too. Excess moisture in the air can lead to mold, which is a hazard even to the healthiest among us. For the very young or old, for those with compromised respiratory systems or illnesses, and for those who suffer allergies, mold can lead to serious respiratory complications.
Increased moisture leads to an increase in bacteria, and it can also lead to the growth of the one thing that sends many an allergy sufferer screaming in horror: dust mites.
If you have pets, summer is the time of year you probably find yourself following your four-legged friends around with a vacuum cleaner. During warmer months, pets shed more profusely, leading to an increase in airborne allergens like dander.
If you’re starting to get a little freaked out by the possibility of inhaling all that mold, bacteria, dust mites and pet dander that may be floating throughout your home, take a deep breath of fresh air and relax! There are ways to improve your indoor air quality, safeguard your health and relieve allergies so you’ll be breathing easier in no time.
Combating Indoor Pollutants
It’s a good idea to follow some simple precautions to keep air free of excessive pollutants, like making sure you keep pets groomed, vacuum often, and be sure to change the filters on your HVAC system regularly.
You can also take advantage of HVAC technology to substantially reduce particles that contribute to indoor air pollution, respiratory problems and allergies, including UV lights and air purification systems.
The challenge inherent in air conditioning units is that the coil is perpetually wet, which can make it a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. To combat this, you can have UV lights installed inside your ductwork, the purpose of which is to disrupt the damp, dark environment loved by mold and bacteria. The UV rays also damage the physical structure of biological pollutants, preventing them from growing and multiplying, which is why hospitals use UV light to protect against infectious diseases.
Another option is to use an air purification system, which will reduce airborne mold and bacteria particles. A good air purifier can eliminate as much as 99% of these harmful particles.
Some air purification systems use electrostatic precipitators to put an electrical charge on particles that are then trapped on collector plates that act as magnets. This works well for odors, too, because it can trap smoke particles that can pass through media filters.
Other systems, like the Lennox PureAir, for example, use a combination of filters, UV light and an oxidation process not only to break down particles but to reduce and eliminate odors as well.
If you have an especially damp basement, consider installing a dehumidifier for warm months. And by all means, be sure that you have your HVAC system serviced and maintained regularly! Professional maintenance will help keep your air conditioner clean, ensure that your system is functioning at peak efficiency, and head off concerns before they become headaches. Plus, you’ll always know that your filters have been changed – your first line of defense against poor air quality.
If you’re concerned about your indoor air quality, let us know. We can service and maintain your existing HVAC system for improved air quality, or install a purification system to help you breathe easier.